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tv   Washington Week  WETA  July 30, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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>> what do you think a tree can be? can it be stronger than steel? can a tree be biodegradable plastic? can it be fuel for our cars? or clothing? or medicine that fights cancer? with our tree cell technology, we think it can. weyerhaeuser. growing ideas. >> you are here to represent us. you are not here to bicker and fight. >> this week, more bickering and fighting over the nation's debt.
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>> a significant number of republicans in congress are insisting on a different approach. >> i gave it my all. unfortunately, the president would not take yes for an answer. >> the giant game of chicken coupled with more bad news on the economy gave wall street the willies. >> you probably should not have more money in the stock market then you can afford to lose. >> john mchale lashes out at fellow republicans who refused to bend. >> that is not fair to the american people. >> i completely totally 100% disagree with senator mccain. >> and nfl players and owners can compromise, like in washington not? >> we can sit here and say football is back. >> first, let me broaden of your weekend with more lousy news
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about the economy. turns out the recession was even worse than we thought and economic growth for the first six months of the year has been the slowest since the recession ended. and, of course, we have the debt crisis. at the conclusion of the nfl lock up, the owner of the new england patriots said, "i hope we give a little lesson to the people in washington because the debt crisis is a lot easier to fix then this deal was. that we put -- as with the program to gather, we are faced with the same problem we had last week. we do not know how this thing will end. let's start with talking about where we have been. monday night, president obama won on television to talk about what will happen if congress based -- fails to raise the debt ceiling. mammon interest rates would skyrocket on credit cards, mortgages, and car loans, which amounts to a huge tax hike on the american people. >> the president has often said we need a balanced approach which in washington means we spend more and you pay more. >> house speaker john boehner who follow the president's primetime tv actress with one of his own, but he has been having trouble with some of his own
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people, so much so that he was forced to postpone a vote on the debt reduction plan thursday night. on your friday column, you write that trying to force this issue, turn a blocking minority into a governing authority, is not just counter constitutional in spirit but self-destructive practice. what is your message to that blocking minority? >> you have gotten as much as you can and quite remarkably. debater plan achieves a lot of the republican goals. it has no taxes, all cuts, and it establishes a principle of cutting spending if you want to raise the debt ceiling. you have achieved that. there is no way you can achieve more holding only one house of the congress. take it. otherwise, the republican chances in 2012 are going to be deeply damaged, and that is the only way, next year's election in which republicans can really change the structure and the ideological trajectory of the
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country. >> the media focus for the past few days has been on boehner's problems with freshmen house members who refused to budge, but political reports have been named senior policy officials as saying this point, we may win on politics, but the policy battle is lost. do you agree? >> yes. the move has been totally to the republican position. the fact that we had a banner plan that is the centerpiece of deficit reduction that continues to tax a firefighter in new york and an emergency room nurse at twice the rate of a hedge fund manager, and nobody objects to it in any way, and to do so would be the third rule of politics. no revenues. the biggest element in our deficit today, according to the congressional budget office, is the $3.60 trillion hole left by the bush tax cuts.
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that is it. and we do nothing on the revenue side. so, yes, republicans have won. >> two columnists both wrote this week about the perils of centers and. >> i do not think he has lost track of himself. i think that he has lost too much ground now that he is not a major player in this. he can pretend he is, but when he agreed to link the debt ceiling with deficit reduction, ball game was over. >> do you think congressional democrats trust the president to do what they believe is the right thing in this? do they think he will sign whatever comes his way? that they already know he is not protecting democratic principles. he was willing to give away so
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much in his negotiations. he gave everything in the grand bargain. all he kept was some revenue increases. he put social security and medicare on the table. there is no reason for congressional democrats to think he is representing their interests, but they are saying, as opposed to members of the republican caucus -- they will blow up the place. some congressional democrats are going along with the president in order not to have the country default. >> let's put this in perspective. first of all, this is president -- precedent-shattering. we have never had a party hold the nation's economy and destiny ransom on a debt ceiling vote, and if anybody thinks this is the only time it will happen, they are kidding themselves. they are delusional. republicans have laid down a predicate that every party will now follow. i did not care if it is a republican president and a democratic house, there will be the same sense of extortion and
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ransom in the future, and that is a perverse development. >> the reason it is unprecedented is because the level of our debt is unprecedented. under this administration, who publicly held debt -- that means the debt that the chinese, the saudis are holding, which has to be paid, or we become argentina -- has risen from about 40% of gdp to 70%. this is in three years. if we hit 80% or 90%, we become greece, and that is exactly where we are headed on the obama budget. that is why the country had decided this is a time in which you have to decide which way is going to go. it has been a salutary debate. we ought to have it. we have to have it. it will pass now, but it has to be the central argument in the next years. otherwise, we are headed over a cliff. >> fair enough, but what about the downgrading of our bonds. that you initially said why
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don't republicans take the victory? it is because there is a nihilist caucus, which is they want to burn the place down. they have strapped explosives to the capital, and they think they are immune from it. the tea party caucus once this crisis. do we want to do this again six months from now? this whole two-step process. they like the drama. they want to do it again. >> i thought that post-tucson we're not supposed to accuse our political opponents of being terrorists. >> nihilists. >> the debate is, as we're saying, that a political ally against political ally. let's talk about that. >> to hold out and say that we will not agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a balanced budget a minute to the constitution -- it is unfair. it is bizarro. maybe some people who have only been in this body for 67 months or so really believe that.
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others know better. >> folks like senator john mccain have been in this town for too long. they are the ones who have gotten us into this mess year after year after year. i am glad that i have only been here six or seven months. i reflect where a lot of the american people are. >> that is congressman walsh of illinois responding to the criticism of senator john mccain. politico columnist roger simon wrote this week that congress has become a fantasy baseball camp which amateurs one of the halls pretending they are major leaguers. you suggest in your column is maybe time to fold them and move along. >> i am sympathetic with the objectives who are rejecting this deal, but they are shooting themselves in the foot. two examples, friday morning, the president steps out and says we're going for a deal coming out of the senate. by not giving boehner the
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victory thursday, the center of gravity and leverage shifted from the house to the senate. second, friday, you got these catastrophic economic numbers showing that the economy has grown at less than 1% in the first half of this year, which is utterly -- it was not only a slow rate of growth in the spring, but a revision of the rate of growth in the winter, disastrous. yet, all the talk in town instead is about the debt ceiling and about the damage that republicans may do if they stop the raising of the ceiling. hear, republicans are achieving huge objectives in the boehner plant, and yet, they are getting away -- giving away the political advantage and the leverage and the attention. >> another political question -- could boehner lose his speakership? >> john boehner fell to the victim of keep your friends
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clothes and your enemies closer. his biggest bet is a fellow eric cantor, the majority leader. he has been joined at the head with him every step. but when a speaker loses a vote -- john boehner brought a different style of management to the speakership. nancy pelosi, you will recall, in her moment of truth -- the health care bill. she leaned and she muscled and twisted and persuaded a majority of democrats -- overwhelming -- to pass the health care bill through the bleak -- three different times. john banner promised not to be that kind of a speaker. but when a speaker loses a vote and the perception of power is power in washington, it is a problem, and it is a weakened speakership. >> the corporate tax that many house and senate members in 2012, 2014, 2016 will lose their seats. why? because congress has become a laughing stock over this. >> to pick up on what mark said,
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john boehner, the blandishments that worked in the old days do not work anymore. you cannot do earmarks. they do not care if you are going to fund raise for them. what they worry about, some of these younger members, is a primary on their right. they are happy to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. for them, it is a personal victory. >> who is in trouble? orrin hatch maybe? >> absolutely. >> given the climate, that is the hornets' nest of john vander's existence right now, the freshmen of south carolina who went into the house chappell and came out and said they had collectively agreed after seeking higher power and instructions to oppose john boehner. >> [inaudible] south carolina has been here before.
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they took a disastrous direction 150 years ago. >> that was 1861. >> do you have a statute of limitations on south carolina? >> but it is not just republicans. bernie sanders, independent senator, liberal, from vermont. he is upset with the president. he is suggesting a primary challenge to the president. >> not going to happen. there is no way that the democratic party is going to undermine the first african american president in american history. it would be catastrophic. it will not happen. absolutely zero chance. >> first of all, his personal ratings remain high enough. >> they are not extremely high. >> high enough. >> there is a disenchantment. it began -- it was always a conflict between any president and the congressional delegation of his own party. they know they have different
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interests. but this relationship was really ruptured last december when the president capitulated on the bush tax cuts at the end of the session to get the budget agreement. as the democratic congressman from massachusetts that at the time, he said if he went to buy a new car with barack obama negotiating, he would end up paying the sticker price on a car with no radio. >> the governor of texas signed a balanced budget this week. if they can do it in taxes, why can they not do it in washington? >> we held the line on taxes and balance the budget exactly the way we said we would. we prioritize. we cut spending. we tighten our belts, just like you all have had to do in your businesses and your personal lives. >> looks like they have cut back on the lighting in texas, too. texas governor kerrey on signing the balanced texas state budget on tuesday. president predicted monday night what would happen if they fail
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to raise the debt ceiling. perry says the federal government should follow the lead of texas. he supports a balanced budget. by the way, nice little campaign slogan. we did it right in texas. could there be a texas governor in our future? >> that is what america is looking for is another texas governor. one place that barack obama gets any positive marks at this point in his presidency is when people ask who is responsible for the economic distress the country is facing, by two to one, people say george bush and his politics. rick perry, if you close your eyes, sounds like rich little doing george bush. i have a rule. i will never put the bumper sticker of any candidate on my car uses the words optimize, a proactive, or prioritize. i was leading in rick perry's direction, but when he said prioritize, that did it.
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>> you don't like his english? >> rick perry can do in texas as most states can do. they did not have armies. they do not fight wars. they do not have a global response abilities. those are apples and oranges. one aspect of the whole discussion that is being overlooked, ignored, it is turning run with the republicans or democrats will win, with the debt ceiling will be raised or for six months -- regardless of what happens or where this thing is going, given what is on the table now and the possibilities that there will be cuts, there is going to be massive dislocation in this country. children -- young children, are going to find that their access to hospitals will be cut back. senior citizens will in fact take some hits. education will take big hits
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with the pell grants. to achieve the so-called cuts that they are talking about would mean that a lot of people are going to be severely, severely hurt. >> but we cannot sustain this level of debt forever. >> we cannot, but here is what is wrong -- we have to get control of the deficit, but we do not want to do anything on the revenue side. all of the change, all of the pain is coming from the cuts. you are still leaving those tax cuts to the wealthy untouched. still leaving the subsidies for the oil companies untouched. everything to the poor and middle-class folks -- you bear the brunt of it. >> mitt romney this week -- my view is we should have a president who is willing to cut, a cap, and balance the budget. then he wants to stay out of this. he is just interested in jobs. in the grand bargain, there were
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revenue increases. closing loopholes that no one wants to defend except for grover norquist, who is having an incredible amount of power in this debate. there is a counter intuitive thing here. you are going to have to spend some to get out of the economic morass we are in in order to stimulate the economy and get jobs and get revenue back into the -- >> as i said at the beginning of the program, it looks like we are shrinking rather than expanding. numbers for the last quarter are terrible. >> in the long run, the spending that we have is completely unsustainable, and the money is in entitlement. the problem is that one of our two parties has declared that it does not want to see any changes. nancy pelosi has said she will not accept cuts in medicare or social security. when fdr invented social security, life expectancy was
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62. today, it is 80. it was intended to make sure that those few people who live beyond 65 did not enter destitution. now, it means that our adults are spending almost 1/3 of their working lives on retirement. when bismarck invented the pension in the 1880's, life expectancy was 46. he picked the age of 65. he was a genius. he was not a philanthropist. what we have now is a system that is unsustainable. you see in europe. that is why we have to be discussing this. until democrats yield on structural changes and entitlements -- than the president agreed -- >> agreed to what? name one. the marissa retirement to 67. >> he did not. >> in the health care bill, there are reforms to medicare that will save $300 billion.
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they do not want a payment advisory board. >> the president of the united states is on television every other day. they once structural change in title months he has ever enunciated in public. >> raising the retirement age to 67. then he has not. >> it was part of his negotiation -- >> he was asked about a week ago, or structural changes he would indoor in entitlements, and he did not mention that. he had every opportunity. he has not. >> mark, you were trying to get a word in. that would just point out, you talk about the recession and the numbers, and they are devastating, the number of people that are unemployed. but that has come with a cost to the federal treasury. we have lost $3 trillion according to the congressional budget office, in taxes not paid because of what happened to the economy. in other words, the shrinking of the economy and the not growth of the economy, so that contributes to it. my point is you could make an
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ideological case for cutting spending at this point. you cannot make an economic case at a time when we've got 9.2% unemployment. you take federal spending out of the equation, and the economy is going to shrink more going to 2012, and it is a disaster economically. >> we just have to be intellectually honest about this. we had two wars that have been fought and funded by borrowing. we had a huge tax cuts for the wealthy that have been financed by borrowing. that has added to this economic mess we are in right now. >> an editorial this week says this president is the most spendthrift president in american history. >> let me give you one number -- in the eight years in office, the bush administration had a deficit that never exceeded 3.5% of gdp. in three years in office, obama has averaged 10%.
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unprecedented in post-war american history. >> you will agree also with bush left office, he left a $1.20 trillion projected deficit in his wake? >> absolutely. what we've had as a result of obama's policies is the weakest recovery since the second world war. with reagan, you had 6%, 7% of growth in the economy in the rebound. now, it is averaging under 3%. in the last nine months, under 2% i. in first half of 2011, 0.9%. essentially a flat recovery. >> who was george bush's predecessor? was america then flourishing? did we have a balanced budget? did we have growing unemployment? did we have a rising tide? >> did we have a surplus? >> for goodness sakes, did
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everybody wants to be like america than it? that was the 20th century. >> and who squandered that? bush was a big spender. >> i have news for you -- the current american president is called obama, not clinton. >> you are asking him to undo in three years what bush did for eight years. is that fair? >> when the president goes on television as he did of money last week, to address our prices, and starts with "george bush," your eyes roll. he is now three years in office. be a grown-up. take responsibility. you have run america hope and change on three years, and what do you get? a growth rate of under 1%. unemployment of 9%. >> did the bush tax cuts in yield anything? we are still fighting --
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republicans are still fighting to keep the bush tax cuts. >> i remember the 1984 campaign of ronald reagan on his reelection, and in every other statement, he was running against the kaiser mondale policies. he did not hesitate to run or rerun the campaign of 1980. the idea that nobody should mention -- george bush has been the most circumspect former president in our history. he has taken away any target that the democrats might have, much to their regret and chagrin, but the reality is that this is not the first time a president has mentioned his predecessor. >> we have about a 1-year or maybe to the we would-year statute of limitations on blaming everything on your predecessor. time is up. >> that is not written in the law yet. is that just -- if that giant collection of egos, the owners of the nfl teams, can make a deal, why can congress not? >> what would it have been like? then a depressing. >> without football, there would
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be a lot of members -- miserable people around the country. >> they got a 10-year deal. >> yes, but it was their money. that is what they were fighting about. they could work that out quickly. it is theirs, tangible. >> still, it looked like it was a terrible conflict. then they get 53%, the owners. the players get 47%. the deal. >> do you think congress should operate like that? >> the key i think is that they reached a decade-long agreement with spending caps. [laughter] >> and no revenue increases? >> that is a showstopper.
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>> but it is not going to be renegotiated six months from now. >> charlie goodell, former new york senator. goodell is- roger his son, so he does have political blood. >> thank you for making that connection. spending caps. i like that. >> one other thing -- unlike government, they actually sell a product people want. >> i could not disagree more. think about that in your national security next time, charles. >> on that bipartisan note, we close. thanks. last word. see you next week. >>th of is broadcast, log onto broadcast, log onto
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